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Chironomid larvae: Chironomus plumosus

The chironomid larvae are widely recognized as an important food for many fish and cultured invertebrates, such as crustaceans (Armitage, 1995; Tidwell et al., 1997). This food, used in vivo, in frozen and in dry, is an excellent source of protein, lipid, vitamins and minerals (e.g., Czeczuga & Gierasimow, 1973; De La Noűe & Choubert, 1985; Habib et al., 1997, Bogut et al., 2007, Kara, 2013). This food is characterized by the relatively high protein content (up to 56%), the high digestibility (De La Noűe & Choubert, 1985) and the high energy content.

Crude protein, fat, water, ash, dry matter, essential amino acids and fatty acids are analyzed from freshly collected Chironomus plumosus larvae in order to evaluate their suitability as the components for farmed fish diet (Bogut et al., 2007). Crude protein content are 7,6 % and 55,7 % in fresh larvae and dry matter, respectively, being adequate for growth needs of all freshwater fish sorts and categories. Phenylalanine (2,76 % of dry weight), leucine (2,49 %) and lysine (2,48 %) are most abandant among essential amino acids. In sum, essential amino acids in C. plumosus larvae are present in quantities adequate for feeding majority of omnivorous and carnivorous freshwater fish species (Bogut et al., 2007).

The content of free amino acids in larvae of C. annularius is studied by Czeczuga & Gierasimow (1973). Aspartic acid is found in the largest amounts, 6,17 g % of dry mass, the next are such amino acids as glutamic acid (5,04 g %), leucine together with isoleucine (4,86 %) and alanine (4,58 g %). Habib et al. (1997) have studied 14 species of chironomid larvae, with the dominance of Chironomus javanus, grown in algal culture, Chlorella vulgaris. Glutamic acid (9,44 % of total acids), aspartic acid, glycine and alanine are most abundant than other amino acids.

In C. plumosus, crude fat content are 1,3 % and 9,7 % in fresh larvae and dry matter, respectively, being energetically sufficient for all warm water living fish (Bogut et al., 2007).  The crude fat contains 26,12 % saturated, 30,42 % monounsaturated and 34.03 % polyunsaturated fatty acids. In general, chironomid larvae contain more amounts of unsaturated fatty acids (Habib et al., 1997) that is needed for normal growth of freshwater fish and prawn fry.

Basic References

Armitage P.D. 1995. Chironomidae as food. The Chironomidae: biology and ecology of non-biting midges. Armitage P.D., Cranston P.S., Pinder L.C.V. (Editors.). Chapman and Hall, London, 423-435

Bogut I., Has-Schon E., Adamek Z., Rajković V., Galović D. 2007. Chironomus plumosus larvae as suitable nutrient for freshwater farmed fish. Poljoprivreda 13, 159-162

Czeczuga B., Gierasimow M. 1973. Investigations on protein amino acids in the larvae of Chironomus annularius Meig (Diptera - Chironomidae). Hydrobiologia 41, 241-246

de La Noüe J., Choubert G. 1985. Apparent digestibility of invertebrate biomasses by rainbow trout. Aquaculture 50, 103-112

Habib M.A.B., Yossuf F.M., Phang S.M., Ang K.J., Mohamed S. 1997. Nutritional values of chironimid larvae grown in palm oil mill effluent and algal culture. Aquaculture 158, 95-105

Kara T. 2013. Seasonal variation of vitamin and sterol content of chironomidae larvae. Pakistan Journal of Biological Science 16, 1579-1583

Tidwell J.H., Schulmeister C.M., Coyle S. 1997. Growth, survival, and biochemical composition of freshwater prawns Macrobrachium rosenbergii fed natural food organisms under controlled conditions. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 28, 123-132

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